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May 6, 2015

Punjabi Taliban join Fazlullah

National

May 6, 2015

ISLAMABAD: Qari Matiur Rehman, a Punjabi Taliban leader closely linked to Al Qaeda, has held a meeting with defunct Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) chief Mullah Fazlullah and announced allegiance for him, sources told The News on Tuesday.
Rehman has been at large and wanted by the security agencies for his role in attacks on former President Pervez Musharraf since December 25, 2003. Currently, he heads the defunct Lashkar-e-Jahangvi (LJ) subsidiary Amjad Farooqi Group from Pak-Afghan border.
The sources claim that Rehman remained a close aide and a logistics provider of Ayman al-Zawahiri, the current chief of defunct Al Qaeda, whenever he travels. The meeting which is held most presumably in Afghanistan was not a one on one meeting as Rehman was also accompanied by his two close and trusted aides – Qari Ehsanul Haq and Rana Ishfaq Ahmad.
The sources claim that Qari Ehsanul Haq is childhood friend of Rehman as both of them hail from southern Punjab district of Bahawalpur from where they had started their militant
activities. Qari Ehsanul Haq is also sought by the security agencies and both of them have Rs10 million head money announced by the federal and Punjab governments.
Another abominable militant from Punjab, Rana Ishfaq, is wanted by the security agencies in connection with his role as mastermind of September 20, 2008 Marriot attack killing 52 people including foreigners.
Spokesman of Amjad Farooqi Group, Abid Kalia called this correspondent from an Afghanistan number and confirmed the allegiance of his leader to TTP Chief Fazlullah. Asked about the place of meeting, he refused to answer.
Kalia claimed that three militants initially had a meeting and Ehsanul Haq and Rana Ashfaq reiterated their confidence in Rehman. Asked about Rehman’s role in Al Qaeda, he said Rehman is not part of Al Qaeda. However, he confirmed that he used to help the defunct outfit.